In the third of a four-part series, Lumaro Group Managing Director Glenn May-Anderson discusses Paid Media, and how to avoid wasting money on things that don’t work BEFORE you try them.
Step Right This Way! Enter the Big Top!
“So, you finally decided to spend a little bit of that hard-earned cash from your business on some advertising, did you? Well, step right up! Step right up! Enter the Big Top! We got Digital Media on the left, Electronic Media over to the right, we got Print Media way over there in the corner, right beside your Direct Mail folks…Pick your poison! Doesn’t matter where you spend it, as long as you spend it! It all works the same! No pressure! So, what do you want to do?!? I mean, we got some deals for you over at Facebook, and Google wants to tell you about these ads on their search page, and don’t forget the SEO optimization folks! Or how about a package of radio commercials? Maybe some magazine ads? Something in the local paper? But no pressure, no pressure at all! So, what’s it gonna be?!?”
If you’re of a “certain age” then you’ll remember the days when the only things you had to worry about were newspaper, radio, or television ads. Salesmen (yes, men) accosted you on a regular basis, but at least they called you on the phone, came to your business, talked to you, and (the good ones) tried to build a relationship with you. (Or they were Herb Tarlek clones – be thankful there aren’t many of those left…we hope…)
Today, you can choose from radio, television, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, newspapers, magazines, direct mail, email marketing campaigns…you get the idea. There are lots of places looking for your marketing and advertising dollars, so which one is the best one for you? Well, that depends entirely on you, your business, your current customers, your target market, your budget, and several other things you need to seriously consider before you commit to spending dollar one.
It would take too long to break down each one in detail; so instead, we’re going to focus on the two most important broad considerations when it comes to developing your paid media strategy: What you are trying to accomplish, and where you should be spending your money.
First Question: What are your goals?
That may seem like a silly question with an obvious answer. Clearly, the ultimate goal of Paid Media is for you to sell more products and services, increase revenues, raise more funds for your organization, or achieving some other tangible business growth target. Yes, at the end of the day, this is absolutely true. Nothing happens without sales, and you need revenue to keep your company going.
But we believe there’s a greater goal, especially if you’re a small-to-medium-sized business, or if you are in a city or community that isn’t a major metropolitan area (and, really, it’s a goal that should hold true for any business, any size): We believe nothing is more important to growing your business than building great relationships.
Irrespective of your size, the goals of any Paid Media programs you embark on should be:
- Create or increase awareness of your business/organization and your brand with your target market;
- Make it clear how they can learn more about you, your products, services, or offerings; and
- Motivate people to connect with you via email, phone, your website, or by visiting you in-person.
Technology is great, but it’s no substitute for real, person-to-person connections. Motivating your target audience to take action is key. Getting them to connect with you – really connect with you – is the goal.
Second Question: Who is your audience?
There’s a simple philosophy we believe in when it comes to reaching your target market, one that answers all questions in terms of how you spend your marketing dollars on Paid Media: Meet your customers where they are.
So, first, you have to start off with identifying your target market. That might be customers you already have, to get repeat business. It might be a new market segment you are expanding into. Regardless, you have to identify them based on your knowledge of your business. You need to understand who that customer is, what their lifestyle is, and their need for your product or service. Do you offer something unique in the market? Are you in competition with others? Profiling your target market(s) is essential, because it drives not only where you spend your money, but what you are going to say. The two are inextricably tied together.
Which brings me to:
A Few Words About Content.
Renowned philosopher Marshall McLuhan once famously wrote, “The medium is the message.” Time and technology have proven him correct in this statement over and over again. His point, boiled down, was that any method of communication must be considered to be as important as, and has a reciprocal relationship with, whatever you are trying to say. Photos of your store will convey certain details and trigger certain emotions because they are images, accessing different senses than words or sounds. That’s the medium. And a photo in a magazine will be viewed by a customer or client differently than a photo on Facebook or a website, based on whether or not they can zoom into the photo and perhaps look at it in more detail, or whether it links to a video, or…you get the idea.
What does this mean for you? It means that once you identify who your target market is, and in what medium they prefer to receive or are most receptive to information related to your product or service, that the medium you use must inform how you structure and present your message.
Make no mistake about it – Content is still “King.” The Global Village has exploded, and there is so much media, and so much content, and a lot of it drivel or clickbait or noise. If you want your message to stand out, you must consider everything we have discussed above before opening your wallet and spending on Paid Media.
First and foremost, you need to make sure both your physical and digital presence are neat and tidy, and accurately represent who you are, what you do, and what you believe. You’re far better off making sure you have a solid website before spending a dime on anything else. Especially today, your digital footprint is the automatic focal point of anything you do. Make sure you have invested wisely in your digital presence before stepping into the abyss of Paid Media.
– Glenn May-Anderson is a Managing Director of Lumaro Group